Astro Glitching

and the universe said i love you

Becoming Barbara

Aug 23, 2023

I am a glitch, malware, a virus. I am a broken computer program, not of any specific sort, but I am the very concept of a computer breaking down and wearing itself thin. I am the idea of code going awry and making things troublesome or outright malicious.

The other day, I went to see Barbie. Who, much like myself, is an idea that became human. A general, static thing turned into a moving, changing being.

Plato put forth is his Theory of Forms that the world we inhabit is merely a projection of ideas and concepts that live in perfection. Like shadows on a cave wall, these forms are not the real things. These things living in the world of ideas, or forms, are the only thing that can truly provide us with information.

The movie Barbie shows us a platonic ideal of a woman. Barbie is the stereotype of a perfectly happy woman living her life. Unchanging in her form, the same day plays out over and over and over for her and the other Barbies. Her home, Barbieland, inhabits the Platonic world of ideas. It and its inhabitants are perfect in every way and they know no pain or sorrow. She is the perfect circle, but if she was a persons life.

Is it possible for a Barbie, an idea, a perfect circle to come out of the world of ideas? Not without becoming flawed in some way. In our world we don't have anything in it's most pure form, just projections like shadows on a cave wall. In the movie, Barbie begins to experience sorrow, begins to have flaws. She becomes unique in her world, no longer being Stereotypical Barbie, she starts to leave the world of ideas and becomes human.

But what does that mean about being human? What does that mean for the idea of the stereotype of Barbie?

Being human is shown in the movie as having flaws, as being a changing and fluid being. To err is to be human, anything else is to be Barbie, or perhaps some other perfect concept. Or perhaps, to err is to be real. To err is to step out of the world of ideas and into the real world.

The other Barbies do have their own quirks and traits, Weird Barbie is known as an outcast but even she represents her own ideal of a Barbie that was “played with too hard”. The other Barbies experience things like sorrow, shock, and surprise but unlike our main Barbie, they change what the idea of themselves is rather than change themselves into real beings. Kens, who used to be more on the wayside, become more independent as ideas, not as humans.

Once heavily debated within the alterhuman community, the idea of being an idea is much less unthinkable as it once was. There are many who might call themselves concepts or things in the community, myself included. We are allowed to step out of our world of perfection and into this new changing reality. It shifts around us and changes us. We call back to what we once were, much like Barbie calls back to her old self as an idea.

I call myself Glitch, because it reminds me of the idea I once was, she renames herself Barbara, as a way to call herself out of the world of ideas. Almost a reverse of the story I hold. We both became flawed in our concepts, no longer able to uphold the perfect standard of what we were. I wonder if she would feel the same as me. I wonder if she would ever miss herself as she was. Now we are both the shadows on the wall, imperfect projections of what we once were.